Tips for Business Start Ups: how to avoid getting in your own way

If we’re trying to develop a policy, business, project or whatever – the process of determining the changes you want to make might appear simple enough until you realise there are various trade offs to be accommodated; creativity or standards for example? Compliance or independence? Responding to policies which say ‘turn left’ coupled to others that demand ‘turn right’: sometimes, legitimately, both at the same time.

Organisational growth is in one sense a mirage of a mechanistic process which suggests growth is simply a matter of increased turnover, more staff, more premises, more profits and that these things arrive in good mechanistic ways which are based on the principle that if I do ‘X’ then this will cause ‘Y’ and that if we behave in a certain way then we will be due – or we will deserve – the consequences.

But the environment we work in isn’t like that at all. It’s far more complex and indeterminable than those assumptions allow for. If we follow the mechanistic logic of following policy, guidelines and so-called best practice – then all to often we will get in our own way and end up contradicting the very steps we want to take.
One model for new businesses is to avoid the notion of the Business Plan like the plague – but opt for Emergent Responsiveness strategies instead, meaning that instead of following a plan – which can be built upon contradictory policies and calls to action – that we respond to the business moment, the glimpses of opportunities and the acceptance of serendipity in the business growth process.

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